Adam Goodes has rejected an offer to be inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame, after he was unanimously nominated for the honour.
The Sydney Swans legend, a two-time Brownlow Medallist, two-time premiership winner and four time All Australian, retired in 2015 after he was dogged by constant racial abuse and taunts over the final years of his career.
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The Herald Sun's Mark Robinson first reported Goodes had informed the AFL he would no be accepting the nomination.
Goodes has been largely absent from the AFL world since his retirement, with friends telling the Herald Sun he hasn't watched or attended matches in some time.
The Swans champion participated in the documentary The Australian Dream, which chronicled Goodes' experience in the league and the ways it led him to grapple with his own identity.
A second documentary, The Final Quarter, was also produced, also examining the circumstances surrounding Goodes' sad retirement from the league.
Goodes became national news in 2013, after he called out a teenage Collingwood fan who had called him an 'ape' during the AFL's Indigenous Round.
Then Collingwood president Eddie McGuire apologised to Goodes over the incident, but then days later joked on radio that the Swans star should be used to market the 'King Kong' musical in Melbourne.
McGuire was not punished by the AFL for the remark, which came 12 months before Goodes was named Australian of the Year.
Goodes began to be booed by AFL crowds not long after, and eventually brought his storied 372-game career to a close in 2015.
He also declined an invitation to join the parade lap for retired players at that year's Grand Final.
It is very sad that one of the great First Nations players of our time, Adam Goodes, is not willing to accept induction into the hall of fame. I hope those who tried to justify their treatment of him as, in some way, legitimate are pleased with themselves.
— Lex Lasry (@Lasry08) June 7, 2021
Understandable but so sad. Goodes is a champion at being a magnificent human as well as a brilliant footballer. AFL has so much work to do. Maybe one day it will make itself worthy https://t.co/Z4SwK9cXmF
— Valerie Heath (@ValerieHeathMBC) June 7, 2021
It's sad that Goodes has rejected a spot in the Hall of Fame, but its even worse that he doesn't watch or attend AFL games. I don't blame him, the AFL let him down when they should've stood up to the disgusting treatment by Australians around the country
— Oz 👑 (@ozzieh10) June 8, 2021
Adam Goodes done far more for the game than the game did for him. Im incredibly sad that he has refused to accept to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Was a gun , whose career ending was overshadowed by a horrible period in the game, that fans still haven’t learnt from #AFL
— Luke (@Marruso89) June 8, 2021
Good on him. Adam Goodes is a great Australian. The racist abuse that he endured is an AFL and a national disgrace. I admire him and wish him all the very very best.
— Nada Vlatko (@NadaVlatko) June 8, 2021
AFL greats draw backlash after Adam Goodes comments
Discussing Goodes' decision on SEN Breakfast, former AFL players Tim Watson and Garry Lyon both expressed surprise that he had declined the offer.
Watson said he thought the pain of what Goodes had been through might have eased in the years since he retired from the AFL.
“I was surprised that he’d rejected it ... he’s been retired for five years, I thought in that five years there might have been that repatriation that had taken place,” Watson said.
“The damage that occurred at that time, I thought it might have eased on him mentally and he might have been able to repair some of those bridges between himself and the game and feel differently about his time and then just appreciated all the great things about the game that were delivered to him, that he earned for himself.
“We always say time is a great healer, I just thought that the time may have healed all those differences. Clearly, it hasn’t."
Co-host Lyon said he was similarly disappointed.
“You can only understand if you were able to speak to Adam personally ... I’m really disappointed, not in him but for him that in his mindset he still doesn’t feel like he can receive the adulation that he deserves as a footballer,” he said.
However the pair's comments were not well received by some on social media, with many feeling it was Goodes' right to step away from the game which had treated him so badly at the twilight of his career.
How astonishing that the "experts" on Fox Footy see this as a problem for Goodes, something that reflects on Goodes, rather than a problem for the AFL. They seem to think simply waiting 5 years should have solved the issue. If ever proof of the cultural problem were needed...
— Alan Sunderland (@asunderland) June 7, 2021
What I like about Adam Goodes is that he is learning to stand in his own power. Sovereignty via Autonomy aint a hashtag its an Action. & His action is deeper than any Award & He knows it, the ancestors are speaking to him... & he knows that too. Gd stuff Adam. Keep@growing🔥
— Elizabeth Wymarra (@woollogirl) June 8, 2021
— Martin Flanagan (@Martin_Flanagan) June 7, 2021
I just can't, mate. What happened to Adam Goodes is a travesty. Anyone who can't see that needs to look in the mirror, not wonder why he hasn't repaired bridges.
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) June 7, 2021
The two-time Swans premiership player has rarely given media interviews since retiring but spoke with The Guardian last year about his now non-existent relationship with football.
"I've tried to go to games and I haven't enjoyed it. It's really sad, because my godchildren love going to the football," Goodes said.
"These are the kids of Michael O'Loughlin (another Sydney Swans icon and Goodes' cousin).
"They always ask me to go and I feel really bad about not sharing that time because I adore them.
"I have other things to do."
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